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No End in Sight (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 31, 2022


Featuring Faisal Al-Istrabadi, Chris Albritton, Richard Armitage, James Bamford, Amazia Baram, Jamal Benomar, Linda Bilmes, Amb. Barbara Bodine, Gerald Burke, Ashton Carter, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Ali Fadhil, James Fallows, Omar Fekeiki, Marc Garlasco, Gen. Jay Garner, Ann Gildroy, Hugo Gonzalez, Joost Hiltermann, Col. Paul Hughes, Robert Hutchings, Ray Jennings, Seth Moulton, Mahmoud Othman, George Packer, Robert Perito, Paul Pillar, Barry Posen, Samantha Power, Nir Rosen, Matt Sherman, Walter Slocombe, Yaroslav Trofimov, Aida Ussayran, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and David Yancey.

Narrated by Campbell Scott.

Written by Charles Ferguson.

Directed by Charles Ferguson.

Distributed by Magnolia Pictures. 102 minutes. Not Rated.

No End In Sight is a shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing dissection of the United States' involvement in the war in Iraq. It shows the planning of the war to be made up of inexperience, cronyism, hubris, ineptitude and a critical lack of foresight.

Before the Fox News pundits start hemming and hawing about the film being partisan theatrics – note that unlike... say, a Michael Moore film... this movie does not just interview the converted. No End In Sight talks to the people who were there, who were involved, who gave their best expertise and who were shut out by an administration of chicken hawks which values loyalty over competence. There are commentators from all sides of the debate and both sides of the war. In fact, I have read online (but have been unable to confirm) that writer/director Charles Ferguson was an early supporter of the war effort.

He has obviously been shaken by what he has seen become of a plan he had believed in, though, because No End In Sight is an incisive, impassioned, despairing look at the hornet's nest which has been stirred up directly because the George W. Bush administration has so badly bungled the situation. Ferguson does not have to try to vilify Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, because their own actions do the job quite well. Like any good documentarian, Ferguson just sits back, puts forth the facts of the case, and lets them speak for themselves.

The sad fact of the matter, as we are reminded here, that it all stems from a time of great possibilities. In the shadow of the tragic World Trade Center attacks, the world was ready to embrace the United States. They felt our pain and there was the fleeting, but incredible chance to create diplomatic understanding like never before.

Instead, the Bush-Cheney cabal decided to settle an old grudge, dragging Iraq into the equation. They kept repeating, though they knew better, that Iraq was involved in the attacks. They attacked a country that was not involved – just because they could, and they wanted to.

Even when the US took over Iraq – although this invasion was based upon lies, innuendo, greed and false machismo – there was a window of time when the Iraqis were willing to explore the possibilities of the situation. Some were even happy to see us.

However, it was a squandered opportunity. Shockingly obtuse decisions – like not securing the stores of Iraqi weapons, refusing to rebuild the area's infrastructure, and most deadly of all, disbanding the Iraqi Army, leaving hundreds of thousands of soldiers angry and without a way of feeding their families unless they side with the insurgents – has made the war the quagmire which it has become.

It got the Iraqis believing that they had traded in one dictator for another. The Iraqis at least had jobs and electricity and living, breathing family back then. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein. It is a malignant force now. All because a few men who claimed to have the best interests of the US in mind forced this war upon us, undoubtedly for profiteering.

This is not the United States I grew up in.

George W. Bush has said many times over the course of his time in office that we can't evaluate what kind of job he has done in the present tense – only history will be able to judge his administration. He better hope that history won't have a copy of No End In Sight.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007 All rights reserved. Posted: July 29, 2007.

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